BEAUCHAMP HALL by Danielle Steel, Pan Macmillan
Winnie, 38, was a good daughter. She had dreams to work for a New York publisher, but stayed in small town Michigan to nurse her mother. When she died, Winnie took a job at the local printers for ungrateful boss Hamm. She’s a devoted sister to Marje, and an unbelievably tolerant girlfriend for 11 years to Rob. He is lazy, a drunk, forgets her birthday ... oh, and likes her to watch porn DVDs with him. Now she’s just been overlooked for a promotion for the 21-year-old who is sleeping with the boss. Quitting, she comes home to find best friend Barb tied up on her bed with Rob acting out a DVD. Barb did introduce her to Beauchamp Hall though; a British aristocratic TV series. Hooked Winnie has found a place and dreams can come true.
TELL ME YOU’RE MINE by Elisabeth Noreback, Allen & Unwin
Startling Scandi novel noir about a psychotherapist who is positive a client is the daughter who vanished as a baby 21 years ago. When “Isabelle” walks into Stella’s office, the psychologist sees the Stockholm technology student’s dimple and pointy earlobe as identifiable birthmarks. Isabelle’s adoptive father has died and she is bereaved and angry. In jarring, interjecting chapters between Stella, Isabelle’s mother Kerstin and Isabelle, the latter seethes, “I will never forgive her for what she did ... I wish she was dead.” But is she talking about Stella or the mother who raised her? At 17 Stella fell pregnant to Daniel. They take a holiday on the coast with baby Alice. “I wasn’t away long. She was sleeping in her red pram.” Assumed drowned, no body was found. Cracking thriller.
THE LAST DAYS OF THE ROMANOV DANCERS by Kerri Turner, Harlequin
Set between 1914 and 1918, Russia is facing a revolution. At the home of the Imperial Russian Ballet, fusty scenery, painful corsets and barking ballet masters have ruled since “Petrograd” was St Petersburg. Corps ballerinas sit knitting, awaiting Prima Ballerina Absolut, Mathilde, crown jewel of the company. She is under the wings of the Romanov royal family and adviser, monk Rasputin. Dancer Valentina’s lover Luka comes from a poor family, but his father is embarrassed he is a dancer, not a soldier. At a performance for injured soldiers, only Rasputin applauds: “Spectacles like this keep the country poor,” people chant. Luka escapes to Paris with Diaghilev’s itinerant
Ballets Russes, while the Romanov’s dancers fade, but are not forgotten.